Top Ten Tuesday

Back to School | Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


This September is actually the first September since I was six years old that I haven’t gone back to school! It’s such a strange feeling – I keep seeing all these “back to school” signs in the stores with buckets of school supplies, and I am drawn to them all – but I have no need for them! For now, I am very happy to be out of school and finally finished university, and I may even go to grad school in the future. While I don’t miss the schoolwork, I do miss the learning! I crave an art history lecture far more often than I ever expected. So, this week, my top ten Tuesday will focus on the books I liked (and disliked) during my 18 straight years of school!

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The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

I actually read this book for a class I was taking on the Gothic subculture in my first year of university. It was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had in a class and while I’m not a fan of the whole no-quotation-marks thing this book has going on, I enjoyed it quite a lot.

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Death of a Salesman & The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I don’t really understand how I can have such drastically different feelings towards these two books, but I adored The Crucible and hated Death of a Salesman. Witches? Oh yes. Sad old men who regret the past? No thank you.

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Antigone by Sophocles

I had to read this for an Ancient Greece class in my second year and I absolutely loved it. It’s even on my incredibly coveted ‘Favourites’ shelf on Goodreads (okay, I like to pretend it’s incredibly coveted)! I read it in one go and it opened my mind to the world of Greek tragedies, which I am forever grateful for.

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The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

Oh boy. I don’t think I have ever disliked a book (and it’s corresponding film) as much as I hated this book. I just – don’t – understand – it. It was just fine as a New Yorker article, why the need to expand it? I mean, sure, there’s Meryl Streep in the movie, but honey, even she couldn’t change the amount of rage I had towards it.

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Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I remember reading Lord of the Flies in high school and thinking to myself that it was one of the first ever assigned readings that I actually really enjoyed. I tended to either heavily dislike the books we had to read, or was simply indifferent to all of them. Of course, it’s hard to continue the love when your super innocent and happy favourite character dies for no good and legitimate reason, but it’s not like I’m holding any grudges against William Golding, or anything.

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Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

I think I might actually have to go back and reread this, because if I remember correctly it’s actually a really cool book. This is one of the oldest books (as in, how long ago I read it) on my list because I remember reading it for Language Arts class in middle school (English class, basically). I remember we had to make a project based on it, and my friend and I made an island out of popsicle sticks.

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The Masterpiece by Emile Zola

I actually had to read this for an art history class on Impressionism. Impressionism is my all-time favourite art style (Monet stan 4 lyfe) and I was really excited about exploring the time period through this fictionalised account of the Impressionists’ lives written by one of their peers. I ended up writing a really great paper on the culture of Paris based upon this book.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I think this book was one of the first ever classics I read that made me realise I wanted to spend more time reading that genre. It was another book I read for the aformentioned Gothic Studies class, and I ended up writing my final paper comparing Dorian Gray with Tom Riddle. I mean, reading Harry Potter for research? Sign me up.

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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is the most recent book I’ve read on this list, and it was because last year I took a field school course in Washington, D.C. that was all about slavery, freedom, and civil rights. I remember feeling really overwhelmed by reading it, and partially it was because I knew I could never fully connect with the author, but I desperately wanted to.

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The Stranger by Albert Camus

Existentialism is just not my thing. I detested reading this book in my high school Language Arts class. It was even worse when we had to write an essay about it. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than when I knew I was finished with it. I wish I could tell you more specifically about how I felt, but I’ve mostly scrubbed that experience from my brain so I would never have to re-live it.


Did you ever have to read any of these books in school? What did you think of them? What are your feelings towards books that you are forced to find symbolic meaning in?

11 thoughts on “Back to School | Top Ten Tuesday”

  1. I have read some of books you have mentioned all except . However “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy which I had to read in school is one which stood me in great stead especially when it came to history and music examinations. I still like to have it on my bookshelf and enjoyed re-reading it a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a believer that a book can still be a “good” book even if you don’t like it, even if that doesn’t make much sense. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t negate how well it was written! (In fact, the Orchid Thief movie is one of the most well-thought out and intricate movies I’ve ever seen, but I would rather jump off a cliff than watch it willingly again).

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  2. Great list! Lord of the Flies is one of my favorites because I guess when I was in middle school I was really surprised by how intense it was compared to other books we read in class. Though I’ll have to agree that I did get bummed out when certain characters were killed off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad we both enjoyed reading Lord of the Flies and Antigone for class! When you know what happened in Lord of the Flies I was so sad and started tearing up in class haha
    I remember reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and getting halfway through a few years ago but I don’t know what happened to make me stop. I’ll have to eventually revisit it because it’s such a popular classic 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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